Wednesday in Washington:
And the Work Continues:
Both the House and the Senate are in session today. The Senate voted yesterday to commence consideration of immigration reform legislation (S. 744). , which could take up the remainder of the month on the floor. The House will take up a number of bills under suspension (H.R. 634, H.R. 2167,H.R. 742, and H.R. 1038) before moving on to consideration of H.R. 1256, the Swap Jurisdiction Certainty Act, and H.R. 1960, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014.
Of particular interest today will be the House Natural Resources Committee markup of H.R. 2231, expediting offshore oil and gas lease sales off Virginia, South Carolina, and California and providing the same revenue sharing provisions provided to most of the Gulf of Mexico states to other coastal states in close proximity to offshore leasing activities. The bill is expected to be on the House floor in some form by the end of the month as part of a group of energy related bills under consideration.
In comments yesterday, White House Advisor Heather Zichal indicated that the Administration would soon be considering a host of executive actions to pursue green house gas emissions reductions. With GHG emissions in the US down to mid-90’s levels and progress reducing carbon emissions in the US being cited by the IEA as one of the few bright spots in the world with respect to climate change, many in Washington wonder what the purpose and benefit of additional efforts would be given the high cost of compliance with some of the proposed measures.
Other Items of Interest:
DOI OIG Releases Report on Coal Leasing Activities: The report evaluated current practices and offered 13 recommendations. The report also highlighted $2 million in foregone federal revenues because the BLM accepted lease bids that were lower than BLM’s own fair market value appraisal. The report states that $60 million more may have been lost because BLM undervalued “lease modifications” that “can increase the size of an existing lease by up to 960 acres.” Because of these and other findings, Rep. Markey (D-MA) announced that he will be asking the IG’s office to testify before the Natural Resources Committee next Thursday, when the committee will be holding a hearing on Powder River Basin coal leasing and practice. Last year, Rep. Markey asked the GAO to investigate the leasing practices in the Powder River Basin due to increased exports and worries about ongoing leasing problems. That report is expected in the coming months.
DOE Launches eGallon Tool to Compare Electric Car Fueling Costs to Traditional Vehicles: The Department of Energy launched the eGallon tool as a quick and simple way for consumers to compare the costs of fueling electric vehicles vs. driving with traditional fuels. Today’s national average eGallon price is about $1.14, meaning that a typical electric vehicle could travel as far on $1.14 worth of electricity as a similar vehicle could travel on a gallon of gasoline. While the purpose of the tool is highlight the economic benefit of electric vehicles, it is also an interesting way of tracking both electricity rates and fuel costs in different states.
USDA Announces Additional Funding to Support Advanced Biofuels Production: USDAannounced the availability of up to $98.6 million to support the production of advanced biofuels, and an opportunity for eligible producers to submit applications. The payments are provided through USDA Rural Development’s Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels etablished in the 2008 Farm Bill to support the expansion of advanced biofuel production. Payments are made to eligible producers based on the amount of biofuel produced from renewable biomass, other than corn kernel starch. Examples of eligible feedstocks include crop residue; animal, food and yard waste; vegetable oils; and animal fat. Complete details on how to apply for the available funding can be found on Page 34975 of the June 11 Federal Register.
EPW Members Question EPA Over Pebble Mine Project: U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), along with several other EPW Members, sent a letter the EPA, regarding the Agency’s ongoing review of a potential mining project in Alaska. Senators Barrasso (R-WY), Boozman (R-AR), Crapo (R-ID), and Wicker (R-MS) cosigned the letter. Last year EPA released a draft report on a hypothetical mining project, as opposed to an actual plan or proposal to develop the Pebble Mine. In response to these criticisms, EPA issued a revised draft report on April 30, 2013, but the Senators argue that the revised draft remains flawed. Of particular concern is the apparent effort of the agency to issue a pre-emptive veto of the project before a CWA permit was requested. Additionally, there are questions about where the statutory authority or funding to pursue such a course of action comes from.
Important Hearings and Events:
BPC Holds Forum on U.S. Tight Oil: Today at 9AM at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) will hold a forum on “The Geopolitical Impacts of the U.S. Tight Oil Boom: Implications for OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and the U.S. Strategic Posture” – the first session in a series on the “New Geopolitics of Petroleum and Natural Gas.”
Additional information about the event and registration can be found here.
House Holds Hearing on New Ozone Standards: Today at 10AM in 2318 Rayburn, the House Science Committee Environment Subcommittee will hold a hearing entitled “Background Check: Achievability of New Ozone Standards.” Information about the hearing and a link to the webcast can be found here.
House Natural Resources Committee Schedules Legislative Markup: Today at 10AM in 1324 Longworth, the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a full committee markup of: H.R.412, the “Nashua River Wild and Scenic River Study Act”; H.R.657, the “Grazing Improvement Act”; H.R.697, the “Three Kids Mine Remediation and Reclamation Act”; H.R.40, the “Southeast Alaska Native Land Entitlement Finalization and Jobs Protection Act”; H.R.841, to amend the “Grand Ronde Reservation Act” to make technical corrections; H.R.931, to provide for the addition of certain real property to the reservation of the Siletz Tribe in the State of Oregon; H.R.1126, the “Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Completion Act”; H.R.1411, the “California Coastal National Monument Expansion Act of 2013”; H.R.1497, the “War Memorial Protection Act”; H.R.1548, to facilitate the development of energy on Indian lands by reducing Federal regulations that impede tribal development of Indian lands; H.R.1825, the “Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act”; H.R.1964, to amend the Naval Petroleum Reserves Production Act of 1976 to direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct an expeditious program of competitive leasing of oil and gas in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, including at least one lease sale in the Reserve each year in the period 2013 through 2023; H.R.2166, to direct the Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Agriculture to expedite access to certain Federal lands under the administrative jurisdiction of each Secretary for good Samaritan search-and-recovery missions; and H.R.2231, the “Offshore Energy and Jobs Act.” Additional information about the bills and the markup can be found here.
House Nuclear Cleanup Caucus Hosts Briefing on DOE’s Activities in SC: Today at 4PM in 1334 Longworth, the House Nuclear Cleanup Caucus will hold a briefing on the Energy Department’s nuclear cleanup program in Savannah River, South Carolina – part of the 19th annual briefing series that will focus on a specific site office and include presentations conducted by local site managers and contractors. For more information, contact Neal Kirby at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Member of the Day: Rep. James Bridenstine (R-OK)
Committee Assignments: Armed Services and Science
Chief of Staff: Joe Kaufman
Legislative Director: Ben Couhig
Twitter: @Bridenstine4OK, @RepJBridenstine
Experience: Congressman Jim Bridenstine is a Navy pilot and combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. He graduated from Rice University with degrees in economics, business and psychology. After college, he joined the Navy and became a pilot, flying combat missions off the USS Abraham Lincoln in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Operation Southern Watch in Iraq, and Operation Shock and Awe in Iraq. Later, he transitioned to the F-18 Hornet fighter at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, the parent command to TOPGUN, where he flew “Red Air” and was also an instructor. After leaving active duty, Bridenstine earned an MBA from Cornell University and returned to Tulsa to be the Executive Director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium. He was recently promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve where he flies the E-2C Hawkeye, a surveillance and operations command aircraft, in Central and South America in support of America’s war on drugs.
Importance: Rep. Jim Bridenstine won election to Congress unseating three-term Republican John Sullivan in the Republican primary. A bare-knuckle campaigner he pulled few punches in the hotly contested primary. He won the general election by over 30 points against Democrat John Olson, a retired Army sergeant. He opposes federal incentives for renewable energy — a growing industry in his oil-producing home state — calling them “not an appropriate role of government.” As a Member from a safe seat and national security credentials unique to the House, he could play a key role in DOD alternative energy funding and federal R&D decisions evaluated by the House Science Committee.
Previous updates and new member profiles can be reviewed at:http://www.mzehrhbw.wordpress.com. If you have any questions, contact me anytime. Hope you have a great day!
Michael D. Zehr
HBW Resources, LLC
1666 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006